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26.10.2002 General News

Court orders SFO to audit Kejetia traders accounts

By gna
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A Kumasi High Court, presided over by Justice V.C. Doegah has directed the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to audit the accounts of the Kejetia Traders Association (KTA).

The directive followed the order he gave the executive of the Association to account for 1.5 billion cedis paid to them by members of the Association to pre-finance the construction of 189 shops and stalls at Kejetia.

Justice Doegah also asked the political authority, through the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), the Ashanti Region Minister and the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to ensure that this was done without delay.

Justice Doegah was giving a ruling in a writ filed against the KTA by Mrs. Gladys Anane-Addo and nine others to restrain the KTA executive, their agents, servants or any person deriving title through them from allocating the stores and stalls at Kejetia.

The High Court Judge ordered the K MA to take over the responsibility of re-allocating the pre-financed stores and stalls as well as the financial administration of the project.

The plaintiffs had, by their writ sought a declaration that the KMA was the sole authority recognised by law to allocate the shops, which ownership was vested in the assembly and a declaration that it was illegal and unlawful for the KTA executive to allocate the shops at Kejetia.

They had also asked for a declaration that the original licensee of the Kejetia shops and stalls be given the first option in the allocation of stores pre-financed by them, an order for accounts and a perpetual injunction.

Giving his reasons, Justice Doegah said the case has unearthed a multiplicity of financial mal-administration of the Kejetia market stores reconstruction by the KTA. The Judge took serious view of the admission by the treasurer of the Association that they did not maintain proper accounting records and that there had not been any auditing of the accounts of the entire project.

He held that evidence by the secretary of the KTA, F. Amankwaah that additional monies collected from the 189 traders as well as ¢21m paid to engineers, who made the drawings were not covered with receipts confirmed that "there was no proper accounting for monies paid or collected for the project".

Justice Doegah said there was overwhelming evidence that the allocation of the shops by the KTA executive was fraught with malpractices, citing the confession by Amankwaah that 13 of the stores were allocated to people who did not make any contribution in the pre-financing arrangement.

The judge said it was common knowledge that the reconstruction of market shops and stalls at Kejetia gave birth to a number of problems within the Kumasi metropolis.

"It is for this reason that if the KMA cannot effectively handle the situation, the overall political administrative authority of the Ashanti Region should ensure that equity and peace prevail in the administration of such an important project in which the Ghana government and the World Bank have spent large sums of money to prepare the infrastructure at Kejetia," he said.

The court awarded costs of five million cedis to the plaintiffs. Some 189 traders including the plaintiffs paid ¢8.250m each to pre-finance the re-construction of the shops and stalls at Kejetia.

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